second-hand words

Sometimes we’ll write a song, finish it up, even play it at a couple of concerts, and then it will fall flat.  Suddenly we don’t want to play it.  Suddenly we can’t even play it (to a kind of weird extent).  Then we throw it out. But damn it, I always think when this happens, […]

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beneath the willows beside the sea

We came out of our last lovely weekend in Holland with a video to share.  Finally.  We always talk about videos, but at the end of the day, we’d rather try to get the next song finished then run around with cameras. So behold:  Beneath the Willows, a new song that you’ve only heard if […]

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fire in the bones

So much of life is tidal that it is no wonder that inspiration operates on the same cycle.  And yet when the tide is out, I’m damning the water, and when it’s in, I’m floundering and flopping for the time to put thoughts in places where they will keep before the water slips back out […]

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music and language, language in music

This post is reincarnated from this post.  (Because breaking down how various German punk songs helped me learn the language doesn’t fly as well with the work audience.) NOTE: Sorry to anyone who read this earlier in the day.  For some reason the YouTube embeds just disappeared. Year Zero.  Frankfurt am Main, Germany.  It was […]

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murder ballads and misogyny in country music

Old time country music. When someone asks, as someone inevitably does any time they interview us, what I find so attractive about the genre (besides the sound), it usually comes down to community. Old time country is music you played on your porch with your friends. Traditionals became traditionals because back in the day you […]

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(post) apocaylpse mix tape: dead flag blues

You might be asking yourself how it is that I came to be so obsessed with post-apocalyptic fiction and imagery. The answer is simple. I used to dream of revolution, but after a couple years I became very, very disillusioned. I just can’t believe we’re going to make it. I can’t believe that a revolution […]

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and when i steal your heart, do you think you will resist?

It is hard to write a love song that isn’t cheesy.  Try it.  I don’t mean go write a song right now.  But think about love and the people you love and then let a few words come to mind.  Those first words are bound to be cliche, Hallmarked.  It doesn’t make them meaningless, but […]

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tiny house movement: the t-shirt

When I think about it—and I often do—the fact that living in tiny houses has become a movement is kind of strange.  I mean, that used to just be the way it was, right?  Normal people didn’t live in huge McMansions.  Half of the time people were in homes that might be considered far too […]

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(post) apocalypse mix tape: the day the basement flooded

Photo (cc) flickr user GeertBoog It was John Darnielle’s dirty, fizzley, basement-boom-box recordings that first trained me to turn a deaf ear to scrappy guitar and to love music that did little more than tell a damn fine story.  The Mountain Goats’ early recordings are the music that macheted the way for what would come […]

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music mama: touring with your baby

Seven day tour with a baby?  Why the hell not?  Then again, why?  Why why why?  When the Beard mentioned, way back when, that he wanted to plan a longish tour with our folk trio Battenkill Ramblers for this October I said sure.  But secretly, I wasn’t very excited.  I have very mixed feelings about […]

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